Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation, a leading developer of RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics, today announced the publication of data in a peer-reviewed scientific journal which highlights positive results in an animal model of Marburg virus infection enabled by Tekmira’s lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology.
Tekmira, along with its collaborators at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, USA, published data demonstrating complete protection of nonhuman primates against lethal Marburg virus-Angola hemorrhagic fever (MARV-Angola) when treatment began even up to three days following infection. The study appears in the August 20, 2014 edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine.
“These positive findings build upon our extensive work in anti-viral RNAi therapeutics and provide further validation of our strong LNP product platform, which includes RNAi therapeutics addressing chronic Hepatitis B infection and lethal hemorrhagic fever viruses,” said Dr. Mark Murray, Tekmira’s President and CEO.
The study was designed to determine whether it is possible to protect animals against a lethal MARV-Angola infection when treatment was started at a point when animals have detectable levels of the virus in their system and already show the first clinical signs of disease.
RNAi therapeutics have the potential to treat a broad number of human diseases by “silencing” disease causing genes. The discoverers of RNAi, a gene silencing mechanism used by all cells, were awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. RNAi therapeutics, such as “siRNAs,” require delivery technology to be effective systemically.
Tekmira believes its LNP technology represents the most widely adopted delivery technology for the systemic delivery of RNAi therapeutics. Tekmira’s LNP platform is being utilized in multiple clinical trials by both Tekmira and its partners. Tekmira’s LNP technology (formerly referred to as stable nucleic acid-lipid particles or SNALP) encapsulates siRNAs with high efficiency in uniform lipid nanoparticles that are effective in delivering RNAi therapeutics to disease sites in numerous preclinical models.
Tekmira’s LNP formulations are manufactured by a proprietary method which is robust, scalable and highly reproducible, and LNP-based products have been reviewed by multiple FDA divisions for use in clinical trials. LNP formulations comprise several lipid components that can be adjusted to suit the specific application.